Fire safety tips to keep in mind when decorating for the holidays
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – If you have a Christmas tree up already or you plan on putting it up soon, here are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.
Christmas trees are responsible for about 160 fires every single year.
“If you have a live tree, it’s extremely important to make sure that your wires your extension cords are not covered up by any type of fabric like a tree skirt. That could potentially cause a fire. You’ve got to make sure that you water your Christmas tree every day or at least check it and make sure it has water. So those pine needles don’t dry out and could potentially spark a fire as well,” said Wendy Mason with New Mexico State Forestry.
A video from the National Fire Protection Association showed how quickly a dry Christmas tree can go up in flames and engulf a home.
“Artificial trees are certainly convenient but you should also make sure that the trees are flame resistant. They many people might have older trees that they’ve held on to for many years. It might be time to consider buying a new one,” said Mason.
When it comes to Christmas lights, you want to make sure you check for any frayed wires or excessive wear before you put them on your Christmas tree. And make sure you don’t use too many and overload any plugs.
“A lot of people use their lights over and over and over. And there is potential that while they’ve been placed in a bin or box for the last year that, you know, all that moving it back and forth that something could have gotten broken. So it’s important before you hang them to check them make sure that you don’t exceed the maximum number of lights, strands that can be connected on your tree or do you even on your house,” Mason said.
Those rules also apply to decorations outside the home.
“Any of these cords and wires could easily cause a spark, if there is something that’s frayed or broken, and that could lead to a fire house and potentially even wildfire if you live in an area where you’re in a wildland type setting,” said Mason. “You want to make sure that on the outdoors that you have pine needles cleared from your gutters and from your roofs.”
Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working properly and of course if your tree does catch on fire call 911.
“Before you go to bed if you have a fire burning in your fireplace, make sure it’s out before you go to bed. There shouldn’t be any embers remaining in your fireplace that are burning orange.”
Blow out the candles and turn off the lights too.